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Sam Horine’s hugely popular Instagram pic with almost 4,000 likes. (via @samhorine)

Did you share a quick Instagram at Ann Hamilton’s “Event of a Thread” (2012)? You were not alone.

Like many New Yorkers, last weekend I was inspired to go see the final hours of Ann Hamilton’s “Event of a Thread.” It was an extraordinary show, heightened by expectations from the long lines and art-carnival atmosphere inside.

I also followed the lead of several friends and shared a few Instagram images and tweets. Sure I’d already seen a few on my feed, but I wanted to celebrate being there — really there. I got quickly got called out on this by a few friends. “The secret to seeing Ann Hamilton” one friend wrote, “is to stay home and open Instagram.”

He was right. Social media sharing through the last week of the Park Ave Armory show exploded as interest and attendance spiked. The final day had 3x the number of photos shared as the daily average. Tweets mentioning “Ann Hamilton” spiked 470% over the last week the show was open.

Even more interesting, just three Instagram users (@samhorine@pauloctavious, and @ikedeani) contributed four photos that collected 1/8th of all likes and comments. They drove the largest engagement spike of the entire show’s opening, four days before it ended. Were they the social media buzz agents who helped drive the event’s dramatic finish?

Notes on methodology. This infographic was researched using a suite of free-to-use social media listening tools. is probably the best Instagram analytics tool around, and was used to examine the leading content and daily uploads trends. Webstagram was used to assess the total number of Instagram photos shared to #annhamilton. Topsy was used to asses the trend lines in “ann hamilton” and “event of a thread” mentions. Sentiment140 was used to sample sentiment around Twitter messages. Public domain icons were sourced from The Noun Project which is one of the coolest flipping web projects around. The spirit to keep going was supplied by the wise eyes of Ann’s pigeons who looked, knowingly, into the heart of my human appetite for answers and sesame seeds. 

Zachary McCune

Zachary McCune is a digital culture researcher specializing in mobile and social platforms. He has developed music visualizers for MTV, filmed a documentary on traditional Irish games, and written an 80-page study of Instagram. His tweets...